Samdech Hun Sen Boulevard, Phnom Penh’s biggest road was officially opened to commuters in early April. Named after the Cambodian prime minister, it will serve to ease traffic congestion in the capital’s southern region.

Stretching more than 9km in length, the avenue connects Street 271 near Kbal Thnal junction in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district in the north to National Road 2 at Prek Kampues in Kandal’s Takmao town to the south. Built to international standard, the road extends up to 60 metres wide with 30 metres dedicated to asphalt concrete and another 30 metres for side pavements. Two bridges were also built to connect the road segments. Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen believes the boulevard will contribute greatly to the improving the traffic situation as well as the property and economic development for people living along and surrounding the area.

“The avenue will play a very important role in diverting traffic pressure between Phnom Penh and its southern part as well as in the development of the Choeung Ek area, where they will spend some USD76 million on 54 hectares of land,” he said at the boulevard’s grand opening on 3 April. Thanks to its international standard construction, he also recommended using this road as an emergency landing strip for both civil and military planes in case they can’t land at Phnom Penh International Airport. “I would propose to HE Tea Banh, in his capacity as minister of National Defense, to survey the possibility of converting any part of this road as a landing strip […] We should conduct a study on an emergency landing strip for some kinds of planes, for instance ATR types. We may also have to think of the possibility of making it possible for military transport planes to land as well in case of emergencies. This is my recommendation, which I think would eventually avert possible danger. It is a possible idea because the road width is 60 metres. We may also think of a lighting system too to show where the landing strip would be at night.”

The boulevard comes under a strategic infrastructure development financed by local property developer giant ING Holdings that has been developing a 2,572-hectare ING City project on the land reclaimed from the Boeung Tumpun Lake and Choeung Ek wetlands. ING City is Phnom Penh’s largest satellite city project that will feature various residential, commercial and pleasure facilities that will cover parts of Meanchey, Dangkor, and Chamkarmon districts of Phnom Penh and Kandal’s Takhmao district. According to the Phnom Penh Post, ING Holdings, via design assistance by renowned Singaporean infrastructure and urban development consultancy firm Surbana Jurong Pte. Ltd began developing the project master plan since 2007 with the subsequent 2011 smart city feasibility study by Yachiyo Engineering and Hitachi from Japan. The project then received approval by the Phnom Penh municipality in 2014.

Once the project feasibility study kicked off, Daun Penh Construction and Australian-based SMEC consultancy were hired to study and plan for Samdech Hun Sen Boulevard, and the two sister boulevards; 2.14km Oknha Hun Neang and a road from Chak Ang Rae Krom to Streer 271 in 2008. The three boulevards’ landscapes were designed by Singapore’s Tropic Planners & Landscape. Constructed to the highest international quality standards, the three roads were also included in the capital’s 2035 Comprehensive Transportation Master Plan to help ease the traffic and urbanisation for the southeast and west regions. Commencing construction in March 2011, Samdech Hun Sen Boulevard, alone worth USD76 million, was built by Daun Penh Construction.

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